Fall 2021

21L.003 Reading Fiction: Voyages Wyn Kelley MW 9:30-11:00a 4-253

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Improves Close Reading, Improves Oral Communication, Is Writing-Intensive, Thinks about Gender or Sexuality, Thinks about Popular Culture, Thinks about Race or Class, Thinks about Social Justice Issues

Voyages inspire literary works; fiction often relies upon metaphors of travel and discovery. This class examines the voyage as a mythic idea that shapes literary forms and fantasies, tests social, racial, geographical, and historical boundaries, and reckons with migration and navigating a dangerous world. Readings will consider structural themes of literary voyages and their consequences: for example, the uses of shipwreck (Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno); monsters (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy); journeys out (Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West); and ambiguous return (Stephanie Powell Watts’s No One is Coming to Save Us, Tommy Orange’s There There). While attending to broad thematic outlines, we will also observe details, the texture of literary engagement with the world—in the play of language, the liberation of narrative voice, and the remaking of experience in words.